Many articles have been written discussing Big Data’s secret sauce or way to achieve Big Data success. These articles often start with how difficult it can be to use data and end with discussions of how we have hardly started yet.
These kinds of story are not necessarily bad. They are popularising Big Data and potentially presenting it to a more diverse audience. However, they do not tell the full story.
Many discuss what to do with your data as if there is a one size fits all or discuss it with such vagueness that there is little insight in the articles that can be actionable.
So I wondered if there was a secret sauce to Big Data?
From the hundreds of conversations I have had with those working in Big Data, the answer is no.
The secret sauce sits in using data intelligently. Finding the fine balance between finding key trends that can be built on and presenting enough evidence to make these actively useable.
This is different for every company and every industry. KPIs differ and as such, the data that becomes important for success can’t be all encompassing. Also, many of these articles broad brush stroke the use of a ‘data scientist’ to find all necessary data for the business, set up the systems and run an analytics department.
The truth is that a data scientist is like a racing driver in a racing car. They can go fast, get greater results than a normal car but still need to be told where the finish line is.
So often the ‘secret sauce’ seems to depend on finding a great data scientist. With much of the advice given, they would be a chef with all the ingredients to make something, but no idea what the diner wants.
Lets move away from these basic advice columns and into an area where industries and companies can look at data for what it is; completely unique to them.